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Jessie Keith, Carole H. Gaston, and Matthew A. Jenks

Hosta variants for epicuticular waxes were selected based on variation in surface glaucousness, from highly glaucous to highly glossy. In an effort to determine seasonal variation in hosta waxes, gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry was used to perform detailed chemical analysis of the adaxial and abaxial leaf blade waxes four times points during the growing season, early spring, mid-spring, mid-summer, and autumn. These studies revealed that in all variants, the total wax loads increased dramatically during the period of leaf expansion in the spring, dropped roughly five fold by midsummer, and then accumulated slightly above summer levels into the fall season. The dominant wax constituent class on all hosta cultivars was primary alcohols. Changes in these alcohols were primarily responsible for seasonal changes in total wax load. In some variants, the shorter chain length alcohols were unusually high compared with alcohol distributions normally found on other plants. Besides primary alcohols, significant amounts of acids, aldehydes, and alkanes, were also found and shown to vary during the growing season. A possible association between these seasonal changes in wax profiles and hosta resistance to slugs is discussed.

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Matthew A. Jenks, Carole H. Gaston, Mark S. Goodwin, Jessie A. Keith, Rebecca S. Teusink, and Karl V. Wood

Cuticular waxes were analyzed on abaxial and adaxial leaf surfaces of three Hosta genotypes differing in leaf surface glaucousness; the glossy-leaved Hosta plantaginea, the glossy-leaved Hosta lancifolia, and the glaucous-leaved Hosta `Krossa Regal'. All three hosta had their highest total leaf wax quantity in the spring soon after full leaf expansion. The major wax constituent class on these hosta was primary alcohols, comprising up to 84.6% of the total wax. Many hosta leaves had unusually high C24 length primary alcohols, especially in the spring. However, the dominant chain length in this alcohol class varied with development and genotype. A unique class of ß-diketones were present on the glaucous `Krossa Regal', comprising as much as 28.7% of the total waxes on abaxial leaf surfaces in the summer. Interestingly, these ß-diketones were only 0.9% of total waxes on adaxial leaf surfaces of `Krossa Regal' in the summer. Studies are under way to determine whether the dramatic seasonal changes in the waxy leaf coatings described in this report are associated with biotic and abiotic stress resistance in hosta.